Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

Cladophora ruchingeri (C.Agardh) Kützing, 1845 (Cladophorales, Chlorophyta): a new biofouling pest of green-lipped mussel Perna canaliculus

22 February, 2015
CITATION

Pochon X, Atalah J, Wood SA, Hopkins G, Watts A, Boedeker C 2015. Cladophora ruchingeri (C.Agardh) Kützing, 1845 (Cladophorales, Chlorophyta): a new biofouling pest of green-lipped mussel Perna canaliculus (Gmelin, 1791) farms in New Zealand. Aquatic Invasions, 10 (2), 123-133.

ABSTRACT

Abstract - Cladophora is a genus of branched filamentous green algae (Ulvophyceae). It contains many species that are challenging to differentiate based on morphology because of the scarcity of diagnostic characters and extensive phenotypic plasticity. Within the past five years, Cladophora blooms have been observed on the ropes of green-lipped mussel farms in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. When Cladophora reaches high biomass, it can clog mussel-harvesting equipment; thus, it is considered a nuisance organism in the region. This study used morphological and molecular techniques to identify the species responsible for the blooms, and to investigate whether this might be a recent incursion. Cladophora samples (n = 21) were collected from nine mussel farms, one salmon farm, and a marina. Morphological and phylogenetic analyses (partial large subunit and internally transcribed spacer regions 1 and 2 of the nuclear ribosomal cistron), revealed the identity of the bloom forming species as Cladophora ruchingeri (C.Agardh) Kützing, 1845. This represents the first report of this species in the Southern Hemisphere and Pacific region. Given the distinct morphology of C. ruchingeri (when mature), its absence from previous surveys of macro-algae from this region, and increasing reports of blooms, our findings suggest that this species has only recently been introduced to New Zealand. This study provides a robust taxonomic identification and initial baseline data. Further directed studies on Cladophora are required to advance knowledge on its ecology and distribution in New Zealand, and assist in the development of mitigation strategies.